1. "When I sing ‘The Christmas Song,’ it both has a great sweetness and a tinge of sorrow for me." — Gregory Porter plays the classic Yuletide carol in an outtake from his upcoming Song Travels episode, due early 2014. 

  2. Watch the hot and historic Preservation Hall Jazz Band from New Orleans bring NPR’s Tiny Desk us a tuba-wielding Santa and some original holiday cheer and praise — what its members call a Cajun Christmas from the French Quarter. 

    Watch the hot and historic Preservation Hall Jazz Band from New Orleans bring NPR’s Tiny Desk us a tuba-wielding Santa and some original holiday cheer and praise — what its members call a Cajun Christmas from the French Quarter. 

  3. nprfreshair:

    Ken Tucker reviews two very different interpretations of holiday cheer:

    New collections of Christmas music are already being released. Kelly Clarkson's recently released Wrapped in Red debuted at No.3 on the Billboard Top 200, while Nick Lowe's new one, called Quality Street: A Seasonal Selection for All the Family, finds him mixing traditional songs with new ones he’s written or co-written with Ry Cooder.

    Ken Tucker says that Lowe’s album, “Wins this year’s genially eccentric holiday music award, with jazzy, folky performances,” whereas Clarkson’s album is a “Glossy, but heartfelt work.”

    See what you think, hear the review and samples from the album HERE.

  4. 


Even before Thanksgiving, Bing Crosby, Nat King Cole and Brenda Lee were reborn for the holiday season, with classic songs of theirs — “White Christmas,” “The Christmas Song,” “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” — materializing anew like Frosty the Snowman himself. Like egg nog and advent calendars, their seasonal tunes pop up everywhere for a month and then disappear, only to be repackaged and resold 11 months later.
For millions of people, those songs signify the season, but for me — for my memories of childhood in the late 1970s — they can’t touch one of the most persistently reissued holiday albums of all time. Christmas With The Chipmunkshas sold millions of copies in the last half-century, and it gets reissued in some form or another every year, usually with bonus tracks and new songs to add to the din of the season for generations of beleaguered parents.

—Stephen Thompson, via Hail To The Chipmunks: A Holiday Classic Re-Revisited

    Even before Thanksgiving, Bing CrosbyNat King Cole and Brenda Lee were reborn for the holiday season, with classic songs of theirs — “White Christmas,” “The Christmas Song,” “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” — materializing anew like Frosty the Snowman himself. Like egg nog and advent calendars, their seasonal tunes pop up everywhere for a month and then disappear, only to be repackaged and resold 11 months later.

    For millions of people, those songs signify the season, but for me — for my memories of childhood in the late 1970s — they can’t touch one of the most persistently reissued holiday albums of all time. Christmas With The Chipmunkshas sold millions of copies in the last half-century, and it gets reissued in some form or another every year, usually with bonus tracks and new songs to add to the din of the season for generations of beleaguered parents.

    —Stephen Thompson, via Hail To The Chipmunks: A Holiday Classic Re-Revisited

  5. Don’t be sad, little girl. We’ve got your Jingle Jams right here.
Photo: State Library of Queensland via Flickr

    Don’t be sad, little girl. We’ve got your Jingle Jams right here.

    Photo: State Library of Queensland via Flickr

  6. The mistletoe’d duo behind All Songs Considered rented a cabin to host a holiday party for the ages. Join Kishi Bashi, Dan Deacon, Carrie Brownstein, Nellie McKay and… vegan haggis (?) for some reindeer games!
Photo: Mike Brinson/Getty Images

    The mistletoe’d duo behind All Songs Considered rented a cabin to host a holiday party for the ages. Join Kishi Bashi, Dan Deacon, Carrie Brownstein, Nellie McKay and… vegan haggis (?) for some reindeer games!

    Photo: Mike Brinson/Getty Images

  7. This time of year brings out the best and worst in us when it comes to music, and we all have our memories of seasonal songs, including Robin Hilton’s story about a painfully unforgettable childhood performance of “O Holy Night.”

    What are your holiday music memories?

  8. For the last 14 years, WXPN host and producer Robert Drake has programmed and hosted a 24-hour holiday-music marathon called The Night Before, aired from midnight to midnight on Dec. 24. We decided this year to put more jingle in the jangle and create Jingle Jams on XPN2, a 24/7 stream of holiday music.
Photo: Dimitar Dilkoff/AFP/Getty Images

    For the last 14 years, WXPN host and producer Robert Drake has programmed and hosted a 24-hour holiday-music marathon called The Night Before, aired from midnight to midnight on Dec. 24. We decided this year to put more jingle in the jangle and create Jingle Jams on XPN2, a 24/7 stream of holiday music.

    Photo: Dimitar Dilkoff/AFP/Getty Images

  9. latenightjimmy:

    Jimmy, Mariah Carey and The Roots singing “All I Want for Christmas Is You” with classroom musical instruments. Enough said. 

    It is not the holidays until I’ve heard “All I Want for Christmas is You.” New favorite thing! —Lars

  10. The Polyphonic Spree is on a holiday music tour to perform seasonal songs, including a beautiful version of John Lennon’s “Happy Xmas (War Is Over).” In a video, the song is set to animated watercolor paintings by artist Gala Bent.
Watch it now.
Photo: Steve Wrubel

    The Polyphonic Spree is on a holiday music tour to perform seasonal songs, including a beautiful version of John Lennon’s “Happy Xmas (War Is Over).” In a video, the song is set to animated watercolor paintings by artist Gala Bent.

    Watch it now.

    Photo: Steve Wrubel